England v Australia: Alastair Cook thrilled as hosts ease to victory
Alastair Cook delighted by England's all-round performance as the hosts ease to victory in the second ODI against Australia
England captain Alastair Cook praised his side’s all-round display as they cruised to a six-wicket victory against Australia in the second one-day international.
Ravi Bopara (82) and Ian Bell (75) ensured that the hosts picked up an eighth consecutive win in this form of the game at the Oval, after the Aussies posted a target of 252.
Andy Flower’s side now lead the five-match series 2-0 as they look to ensure success against the No1-ranked one-day side.
“It’s nice to get over the line and I thought Ravi and Ian played really well,” said Cook.
“A score of 250 is always gettable here at The Oval when you have wickets in hand and the batters did their job.
“Our bowlers also did well. We put that squeeze on between 25 and 35 overs, and that really took 20 to 30 runs off their total.”
After electing to bat first, the Australians made a good start but that changed as the scoreboard reached 15.
Steven Finn was the man to strike for Cook’s side, with the dangerous David Warner miscuing a pull to Square Leg.
Rain intervened to delay the game for 30 minutes, with the visitors on 51-1.
Shane Watson was soon celebrating a personal milestone, as he reached a 28th ODI half-century, and a total of 4,500 runs in this form of the game.
The next wicket came just three runs later, as Forrest was brilliantly caught by the diving Craig Kieswetter, off Stuart Broad.
After the tourists moved past 100, skipper Michael Clarke departed, as Bopara’s tricky medium-pacers forced him to edge one to the keeper.
Opener Watson was the next man to fall for 66, as Finn safely took the catch off Graeme Swann.
David Hussey and George Bailey were frustrating the hosts with a solid batting performance to edge closer to 200.
Finn was soon celebrating a second success, as he recovered from half-stopping a Hussey stroke to hit the stumps with an acrobatic throw.
Tim Bresnan then struck twice in quick succession with time running out for the Aussies, with Bailey and Matthew Wade departing for 65 and 6 respectively.
There was still time for a pair of catches to be dropped, with Eoin Morgan failing to give Jade Dernbach a deserved wicket, as the innings closed on 251-7.
Australia made a sloppy start in their attempts to avoid defeat, as the opening pair comfortably reached 40 without loss within six overs.
Clint McKay made the much-needed breakthrough with the first ball of the next over, as Cook was trapped LBW after getting to 18.
Jonathan Trott was next to be dismissed with 81 on the board, seeing his middle stump knocked over by Watson after failing to connect with a big hit.
Opener Bell was proving difficult to dislodge and he reached his 21st ODI fifty with the reply nearly reaching the halfway point.
Since returning to the side in June after the retirement of Kevin Pietersen, the 30-year-old has produced the goods, with an average of 73.3 in three games prior to this clash.
After introducing himself into the attack, Clarke finally ended the innings of the Warwickshire man.
The decision proved to be an inspired one as the first ball of his spell skidded through the defences of the batsman.
He nearly struck again with the next ball, as Morgan looked to be hit on the pads but the Middlesex player immediately chose to use the review system to try and bail him out.
Video umpire Aleem Dar eventually concluded that the left-hander was not out, with replays proving inconclusive.
With 15 overs remaining, Ravi Bopara reached his maiden half-century in the 50-over game against these opponents, 1032 days after falling a run short on the same ground.
Bopara’s attempts to reach 100 were thwarted as England closed in on victory as he was run out on 82, off the bowling of Xavier Doherty.
It was left to Morgan to hit the winning runs with 26 balls to spare and attentions will now turn to Wednesday’s game at Edgbaston, with the side looking to clinch a seventh straight one-day series success on home turf.